Monday, February 4, 2013

The Star Bangled Banner

FACT Based on a poem written in 1814 by 35-year old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key.
FACT Key's poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for The Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London.

FACT The Star Bangled Banner was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931. The resolution was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
FACT The Star Bangled Banner is, truly, one of the most creatively interpreted songs...ever.

Sadly, many of those interpretations weren't good. 
Sadly, 'bangled' has far to often been mangled
I wouldn't sing the national anthem at an event that was being televised worldwide if you gave me a bucket full of hundred dollar bills. 
There's too much pressure. Too much can go wrong, technically speaking that is. 
If you decide to pre-record your performance and then lip sync you are seriously asking for trouble. I believe Whitney Houston's performance, which was pre-recorded, is considered to be the best, if not one of the best, renditions of all time. And what's the big deal? It was Whitney moving her mouth to Whitney's singing and it went off without a hitch. 
She was lucky. 
Lip-synching to pre-recorded music is risky. Something is probably going to go wrong and despite your motives-"I just wanted it to sound the very best to pay respect to such a beautiful song"-and someone is going to catch you. 
It's a no win situation. 
Ask Beyonce. 
Last night was the Super Bowl. Alicia Keys performed her rendition of The Star Bangled Banner.
It appears that Ms. Keys has joined the ranks of other artists who have attempted to make the Star Spangled Banner their own. 
After her performance, American Idol's Randy Jackson said "Killed it."
I'm guessing in the good sense.
There is no information on whether or not Jackson followed 'killed it' with his trademark 'dawg.'
Director Spike Lee said "Yes Lawd."
'Yes lawd that was awesome?'
'Yes lawd she's finally done! I can go to the bathroom now?"
Reviews are mixed however, and Hollywood directors and guys on a singing competition reality show aside, some weren't as positive about Keys' performance.
Someone compared her rendition to a funeral dirge.
Yes. It was a little slower than normal. 
Keys managed to stretch her version to a record breaking...yes...record breaking....156 seconds
I've got to give her props. She sang live
Jennifer Hudson didn't. 
Whitney Houston didn't. 
And look what happened to her! 

There have been some horrible performances of the National Anthem. 
H O R R I B L E. 

Who remembers Michael Bolton pausing long enough to read the words he had written on his hand?

There are people still in therapy after they were exposed to this train wreck from Roseanne Barr...

This poor guy never stood a chance...

It's like I said earlier, there's just too much pressure to perform this song. Nobody wants to do a bad job. Everyone has the best intentions and honestly, who the Hell would want to look like a complete ass on a worldwide stage?

Not to be completely negative, there have been some exceptional performances of The Star Bangled Banner. 

Here is a link to a website that is listing what they are considering THE TEN GREATEST NATIONAL ANTHEM PERFORMANCES.

Do you agree or disagree with their ranking? Did they get it right or wrong? Did they forget someone or include someone they shouldn't have?

Amateur singers have found singing The National Anthem to be a challenge. Professional singers, no matter how famous, have faced the same challenge. Some forget the words or can't hit some of the notorious high notes.

It's one of those things that if you get it right, you'll be placed on a pedestal and lauded for your vocal talents. If you get it wrong, then you'll be called a jackass and your performance will be TWEETED, FACEBOOK'ed and YOUTUB'ed for all of eternity. 

So...ask yourself. 
"Do you feel lucky? Well. Do you?"
Do you feel lucky? Do you remember the words? Has there been at least a dozen sound checks?  

It's "O'er the ramparts we watch'd...were so gallantly streaming?"

Don't say I didn't warn you.

and that's 'Jody' with a 'y'
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*All Rights Reserved

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